Why Conservative Women Like Sarah Palin and Christine O'Donnell Are Giant Hypocrites
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Remember Phyllis Schlafly? She is a far Right Wing politician (now 86) who is known for organizing opposition that contributed to the defeat of the Equal Rights Amendment. Sarah Palin, Christine O’Donnell, and Sharon Angle are the ideological daughters of Phyllis Shlafly.
Like many in the Right Wing, Schlafly’s hypocrisy is deep and stunning. She toured the country telling women that the only appropriate role for them was to be housewives and obey their husbands, but she ran for Congress in 1952 when she still had babies in diapers. She spent her entire career fighting against opportunities and equality for women. The organization she founded to oppose the ERA was called STOP ERA—“Stop Taking Our Privileges” –the idea being that equality would actually be a step down for women. Of course we all know that the degree of women’s privileges depends on how much money they have and what the men in their lives want.
Because many years have passed since the failed ERA campaign, I think it would be important to include the Amendment in its entirety.
(See if you can find the parts that required women to share bathrooms with men.)
Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged
by the United States or by any state on account of sex.
Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate
legislation, the provisions of this article.
Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the
date of ratification
Did you find the part that women would be against? There was a double standard for Phyllis Schlafly just as for Sarah Palin and the others--- between the policies they want to impose on other women and the choices they want to have available for themselves and their families. Schlafly persuaded many women to work against their own equality, just as the tea baggers have done with so many Americans who desperately need education, health care and unemployment benefits. How do they convince hard working people to vote against their own best interests? Pulling this off requires a special talent. It requires a large dose of fear tactics—‘us against them’ that appeals to people’s lesser Angels, and the inflaming of prejudices fostered by a bad economy.
But a re-reading of Right Wing Women by feminist theorist Andrea Dworkin (1978), helped me understand more about this latest generation of ultra conservative women. She explains that it is not as simple as hypocrisy or even stupidity. She argues that Ultra- Conservative women, like all the rest of us, notice that we live in a world in which men still call most of the shots and have significant disdain for women in general.
You know I didn’t make this up. Though it is not considered polite to point this out, misogyny is all around us in this country as well as the rest of the world. Women are raped and murdered, wives are beaten, young girls are traded as sex slaves, and women are denied opportunities, undereducated and exploited all over the globe. In this country keeping women in their place requires a little less actual violence than in some other countries, yet the most likely time for an American woman to be beaten or murdered is when she is pregnant. It is a difference of degree rather than a difference of kind. Right Wing women take out a clever insurance policy by consciously or unconsciously identifying so completely with the men in charge that they hope they will be protected. They imagine the approval of powerful men will convey on them a power and status that will make them immune from the problems that normal women face.